By   – Digital Producer, Washington Business Journal  Updated 
By   – Digital Producer, Washington Business Journal

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington has submitted plans for what will be one of, if not the, largest solar arrays in D.C., in an effort to cut its energy costs and fund improvements to its facilities.

The project, to be located on 14 acres surrounding the Gift of Peace House and convent at 2800 Otis St. NE in Woodridge, will involve the installation of 4,778 solar panels, with a total mounted height of 7 feet, according to filings with the D.C. Board of Zoning Adjustment. The array is expected to generate 1.72 megawatts of energy.

For comparison, H.D. Woodson High School at 540 55th St. NE, which tops the District’s list of highest solar energy generators, produces 611 kilowatts of energy from its array. Solar arrays currently located atop about 50 D.C. government sites, from schools to recreation centers to warehouses, generate more than 11 megawatts.

Catholic Charities owns the Woodridge land and will lease it to a developer to build the array — and receive credit on its Pepco account for the energy generated. Design plans for the array were produced by Millersville, Maryland-based Solar Energy Services Inc.

A Catholic Charities spokeswoman declined to name the solar developer, how much the land will be leased for or how much the panels will cost. She did say the effort would save the charity an estimated $200,000 a year. Catholic Charities intends to use those funds toward maintenance and repairs to the Gift of Peace House, run by the Missionaries of Charity, which shelters 38 terminally ill men, women and children.

Mother Teresa, now Saint Teresa of Calcutta, founded the Missionaries of Charity and opened the D.C. Gift of Peace House in 1986 largely to serve those dying from AIDS.

The array, which Catholic Charities hopes to launch next year, will be closed off by a 6-foot-tall fence.